A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

A Conjuring of Lights

I’d been putting off reading the final part of the Shades of Magic trilogy because I’d fallen in love with the characters and their world so much that I didn’t want the adventure to be over, yet I finally gave in to the competing desire to find out how it all ends.

A Conjuring of Light starts immediately after the end of A Gathering of Shadows (reviewed here). There’s a certain sense of circularity in that the plot of the final book resembles that of the first, A Darker Shade of Magic (reviewed here) as once again magic incarnate spreads like a plague possessing or destroying all who come into contact with it, yet this time the stakes are so much higher. There’s a real sense of desperation as Kell, Lila, Holland, Rhy and Alucard battle to save the besieged city, and they have to set aside their differences and grudges to work together to fight a common enemy.

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A Conjuring of Light was full of enough suspense, betrayals, sacrifices, romance and humour to keep me hooked right up to an ending that felt both satisfying and bittersweet. This is one of the best fantasy series I’ve read in a long while, and a trilogy that I’ll happily re-read at some point. Have a lovely week. X

The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman

The Lost Plot is the fourth book in the Invisible Library series following the librarian Irene Winters in the battle between the forces of chaos and order.

Shortly after The Lost Plot begins, Irene is approached by a dragon with a request to acquire a specific version of a text, a request that threatens the Library’s neutrality between the dragons and the fae, and Irene finds herself caught between two rival factions of feuding dragons.

One of the aspects I love most about this series are the locations and this one was set in an alternate 1920’s New York complete with speakeasy’s, prohibition and gangs.

The pace of The Lost Plot trots along and there were enough shady deals, betrayals, shoot-outs and librarian duels to keep me hooked until the end. As an added bonus the slow burn romance between Irene and her assistant Kai finally starts to heat up.

I’m generally reluctant to commit to long-running series, but the Invisible Library books are so original, fun and easy to read with such endearing characters that I’m always happy to find out what Irene and her allies are up to. Have a lovely week. X

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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The first book in The Gentleman Bastards series follows Locke Lamora an orphan who grows into a criminal mastermind addicted to the thrill of pulling elaborate cons on the nobility. However, the delicate accord that exists between the nobles, law enforcement and criminal factions in the city of Camorr is torn apart when the mysterious Grey King arrives, and Locke and his crew find themselves caught in the middle of the murderous, political machinations of much powerful players.

The Lies of Locke Lamora is as much a story about found families as it is a fantasy heist, with each member of the Gentleman Bastards bringing unique skills to their operations, and the friendship between Locke and Jean (the brains and brawn of the crew respectively) is the emotional keystone of the story.

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I often talk about books being easy or quick to read because many of us lead busy lives and it can be hard to find the time to read, and I tend to have a 100 page rule that if I’m not invested in a story by that point then I give up and move on to something else, but it took me about 200 pages to really get into The Lies of Locke Lamora. There are definite pacing issues, with a lot of verbose descriptions of Camorr and setting up all the rival political and criminal factions before the action begins, yet the endearing characters, witty dialogue, clever foreshadowing and the combination of heart-pounding, nail-biting suspense and thrilling, unexpected twists more than made up for the slow start, and as soon as I finished this I bought the next two books in the series. Have a lovely week! X

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

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The Well of Ascension is set about a year after the events of The Final Empire (reviewed here); the young nobleman Elend is King, replacing the tyrannical Lord Ruler, and the city of Luthadel is besieged by three different armies, all intent on seizing power for themselves, one of which is lead by Elend’s own father.

The surviving leaders of the rebellion are all floundering without Kelsier to guide and unite them. Vin is still testing her newfound abilities and trying to figure out her relationship with Elend. Meanwhile, Elend is struggling with the responsibilities of being King and trying to maintain his integrity and ideals.

While The Final Empire had a tight narrative perspective focusing on Kelsier and Vin (and Elend at the very end), The Well of Ascension follows several different characters’ perspectives and sometimes seemed too diffuse. I also found this slower paced and lacking the momentum of the first book, though it was redeemed by the last 150 pages, which had me riveted and ended on a cliffhanger that made sense of the Lord Ruler’s dying words and left me desperate to know what happens next.

It’s always hard to review the middle book in a trilogy as it has to bridge the first and final parts, and it’s often difficult to judge how well it foreshadows or sets up things for the conclusion until you’ve finished the series – so I may change my mind in the future – but unfortunately The Well of Ascension didn’t manage to live up to my expectations.

Have a lovely week! X